How to Enforce a Spousal Support Order

Many divorces include an order for spousal support in order for the spouse with the lesser income to maintain the standard of living of the former marriage. Sometimes spousal support is for a defined duration for the spouse to become financially independent. However, sometimes the spouse ordered to pay support refuses to do so once the divorce is finalized. In this situation, an experienced Virginia divorce attorney can help get you the alimony you are owed by your former spouse. At Select Law Partners, PLLC our knowledgeable lawyers are prepared to advocate for the spousal support you are owed after your Virginia divorce. Call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Contempt of Court

One of the first options to enforce spousal support order is to go back to the court. A judge will compel the non-paying spouse to explain why spousal support payments are not being made (this is called a show cause in Virginia), and if there is no good excuse for the nonpayment the judge may hold your former spouse in contempt of court. This can include fines, attorney fees, and jail time until a certain amount of the outstanding spousal support is  paid. 

Income Withholding (Garnishment)

If holding a former spouse in contempt of court is not enough to continue regular spousal support payments, the next option is to file for income withholding, also known as wage garnishment. If ordered, an employer is required to withhold a certain percentage of your former spouse’s paycheck each pay period and send it directly to you in order to pay spousal support. This type of order can be placed on many different types of income, including a salary, wages, commissions, tax returns, lottery winnings, retirement income, and more.

Property Liens

Another option to enforce a spousal support order is to place a lien on your former spouse’s real estate and personal property. If a piece of property has a lien, the lien amount must be paid first before the seller receives any profits from the sale. Typically, a lien can last up to 20 years, which makes it very difficult for a person to sell that property. The lien money goes directly to the former spouse who is owed back spousal support. 

Talk to Our Virginia Lawyers to Learn More

Has your former spouse refused to pay the spousal support you are owed after your divorce has been finalized? If so, you need the experienced Virginia divorce attorneys at Select Law Partners, PLLC to zealously advocate for your legal interests. To learn more about the wide range of legal services offered to our clients, call the office or contact us today to schedule a consultation of your case now. 

The following two tabs change content below.

Matt Kurylo

Latest posts by Matt Kurylo (see all)

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Click here for full disclaimer or view our Privacy Policy

Main Offices:

910 Littlepage Street
Suite A
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Hours: M-Th 9a-5p, Fr 9a-1p

4085 Chain Bridge Road
Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22030
Hours: M-Th 9a-5p, Fr 9a-1p

© Select Law Partners, PLLC. All rights reserved.